I'm a HUGE fan of the Ruger Single Six. It has been one of my most carried firearms in the field and I've shot more critters with it than any other firearm I own. It has always been a reliable and accurate firearm and it just plain gets the job done - from paper targets and plinking to camp meat and putting down livestock I have nothing but praise for it.
A while back I passed on a Single Six in 32 Mag and ever since then it has been like a splinter in my mind. Well I remedied that (Thanks to Ruger1nut
for alerting me to Contender85
's classified post) recently and I am now in possession of one.
Among the first things I noticed is the 32 Mag hefts more lightly than the 22 caliber version.
The 32 Mag weighs in at 30.7 ounces (empty) vs. the 22lr 5.5" version at 38.4 oz. Almost a half pound lighter... Not huge but noticeably lighter and it seems to be in a good way as sometimes lighter weight punishes the shooter with recoil, reduced size or lack of stability. The 32 Mag Ruger feels just right.
Since this was my first venture into the realm of the 32 H&R Mag I had to buy dies, brass (Starline) and I also purchased the RCBS 32-98 SWC mold based on its near universal praise and accuracy with the Ruger Single Six. Officially the OAL for this caliber is 1.350" but the 1.400" + OAL of the cartridges I cast, loaded and had ready to go fit the Single Six with room to spare. Not quite enough cylinder length for another favorite of mine the 32-20.
My early tests show promise. I've only tried Alliant Unique and Winchester 231 powders so far, since data on this cartridge is somewhat limited at this time. Even so I was very pleased with my early experiments.
The powder that seems to be most consistent over the chronograph is Winchester 231. It has also produced the most impressive groups.
7 yards, offhand (no rests) with both the Lyman 311008 (.313" actual) and the RCBS 32-98-SWC (sized .314").
With Unique the extreme spreads were wider apart, but the accuracy was similar. I have very little doubt I would be able to find a 'sweet spot' using Unique that would produce consistent velocities and good accuracy. That being said I'm probably going to further explore what Winchester 231 does within its published data limitations and a few other powders like Lil'gun and Bullseye first.
The two bullets I've tested are the Lyman 311008 (118 grains as cast) and the RCBS 32-98-SWC (103 grains as cast). Using a roughly 20/1 alloy the 008 drops right at .313" from the mold and I loaded them as cast. The RCBS 98 grain bullet dropped .316" and in VERY limited testing seemed to shoot (slightly) better when sized to .314 in my Lee push through sizer (pan lubed).
I have not slugged the barrel or measured the cylinder on this gun. My enthusiasm and expectations for this revolver were very high based on the other reviews I've read here and on other sites. Once it was in my possession my first stop was the range for some preliminary testing.
Lyman 311008 bullet in Starline Case.
Here are my first findings.
-Unsized (.316") over Unique (Starting load) 1144 fps avg. Promising accuracy - still getting used to the sights and trigger of this new to me revolver. Wide extreme spread, over 150 fps in the 5 shot string.
-Same load as above with a .314" sized bullet, slightly better 7 yard group and second best extreme spread/standard of deviation of the session. Slightly improved accuracy vs above loading, not conclusive though. 1110 fps average.
-Winchester 231 at starting load levels produced 928 fps avg and also the best accuracy.
Lyman 311008 cast bullet (118 grains)
as cast, pan lubed.
3.7 grains of Unique loads averaged. 980 fps Accuracy was on par with the day's average comparatively, good.
-Winchester 231 starting load level produced 920 fps average with this bullet and the second best 7 yard group of the day.
Double Check ALL LOAD DATA!
The Lee Factory Crimp Die was used for all loads.
Overall, I really couldn't be much happier. This little revolver shows some real accuracy promise and will no doubt see field use as a camp meat, woods loafing, plinker, pack gun and probably get some use in silhouette matches as well. My only regret is that it took me too long to get one.